Dutch term – Koopman

Etching of a merchant

A koopman was a merchant, with the plural being kooplieden. Kooplieden could trade in all sorts of goods, ranging from spices from the Far East, timber from the Baltic or fur from the Americas. Others traded in domestic products like grain, cloth or glassware. One of the nice things about having a koopman in your tree is that they left much … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Familieberichten

Marriage announcement of H.J. Kastein and E.J.E. de Monye

Familieberichten are family announcements, ads people placed in the newspaper to inform the readers of births, marriages or death. They are often less informative than obituaries but can help to provide background information and serve as illustrations. Read more about family announcements. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overspel

woman and man sitting secretively in an inn

Overspel is the Dutch word for adultery. Depending on the period, adultery was not only a private matter, but could be criminally prosecuted. The church council also wanted to find out so that both parties could be censored. One of my own female ancestors was fined for insulting another woman, saying "You are keeping company with my man" and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Topics in an Archievenoverzicht

Man standing on a ladder in front of stacked boxes

An archival catalog (archievenoverzicht) will give an hierarchical overview of the contents of a repository. Common topics include: Bestuur en Politiek  [Government and politics] Bevolking [Population] Justitie en Rechtspraak [Justice and Court] Openbare orde en veiligheid [Public order and safety] Defensie [Defense] Notariaat … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Midwinterhoorn

Man blowing a midwinterhoorn

Midwinterhoorn literally means "Mid winter horn." It is a wooden horn that is typical for the eastern part of the country. The horns are made of a curved branch of a tree, which is sawed in half length-wise, hollowed out and put back together with a mouth piece attached to it. In Gelderland and Overijssel, midwinterhoorns are traditionally … [Read more...]

Dutch terms – begraafplaats and kerkhof

Cheryl near the Baard cemetery

A begraafplaats or kerkhof is a cemetery. Kerkhof (literally meaning "church yard") is a cemetery around the church, while a begraafplaats (literally: "burial place") is a more generic term. In the Netherlands, graves are routinely cleared after a few decades to make room for new graves. To see what graves still exist, check online cemetery … [Read more...]

Source – Guardianship records

Girls sitting around a table doing needlework

In my article about the Weeskamer (orphan chamber), an institute that oversaw the estates of orphans before 1811, several people asked me what records might exist for later orphans. The richest source of information are guardianship records, which can be found in the records of the court. Court-appointed guardians After 1811, the courts … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Wintermaand

Wintermaand (literally: Winter month) is the old word for December. … [Read more...]

Case study: Lammert Huybertsen Brink

Dolderbrink near Wageningen (detail), 1676 (1653)

Two years ago, I helped a client, Mr. Dennis Brink, find out exactly where his family was from. He kindly agreed to let me share our story of discovery of the origins of his immigrant ancestor, Lammert Huybertsen Brink, with you. Known information When Dennis Brink first contacted me, he provided the following information about his New Netherland … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Sinterklaas

Baby in the lap of Saint Nicholas

Sinterklaas is the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas. The American tradition of Santa Claus stems from the Dutch celebrating Sinterklaas. What Sinterklaas and Santa Claus have in common is their love for children and sharing gifts. But it is interesting to compare the differences in the traditions: Sinterklaas Santa Claus Feast … [Read more...]